HARRISBURG – In order to protect more children from the trauma of testifying in court, state Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) has authored legislation that would expand the circumstances in which out-of-court statements by a child may be admissible. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved House Bill 505 this week.
“This legislation is a needed extension of a law already on the books aimed at making victim testimony easier for young children,” said Kauffman. “With new crimes against children added to the state’s Crimes Code, we are in need of an update. Under my bill, crimes such as human trafficking would now be included for situations in which a child could provide out-of-court statements so as not to face their perpetrators.”
House Bill 505
is part of a package of bills considered and passed by the House this week to increase protections for crime victims. The bills include:
• House Bill 276
(Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland) – A joint resolution, known as Marsy’s Law, which would add a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
• House Bill 502
(Rep. John Hershey, R-Franklin/Juniata/Mifflin) – Would ensure victims can attend proceedings against their abusers.
• House Bill 503
(Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming/Union) – Would help victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism testify in court.
• House Bill 504
(Rep. Natalie Mihalek, R-Allegheny/Washington) – Would shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
Each of these bills first went through the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Kauffman. All five bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Rob Kauffman
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman